Hillsborough County Public Schools, local law enforcement and community agencies celebrated and honored thousands of elementary students who assisted in keeping their respective schools safe throughout the year. More than 4,000 fifth grade safety patrol students were transported on the yellow school bus from across the district to gather at Edward Medard Park for the annual Mark Dafeldecker Safety Patrol Picnic.
This was a day of fun in the sun for many elementary students where the elementary principals council could reward students for a job well done. For the last decade, the picnics have been named in memory of the late Mark Dafeldecker, a Northwest Elementary School principal who helped organize the events for many years.
According to Dawn Stites, event chairperson and principal of Palm River Elementary, "It is definitely a work of love for the many people involved. While I am especially proud to be the chairperson of the committee, I believe it takes a village and this day could not have happened without all the village members who work behind the scenes to make it happen."
Students were treated with hot dogs cooked by county firefighters and given cool beverages, lunch and treats from Hillsborough County principals. In addition to hiking along Medard Park’s trails and playing Frisbee, students enjoyed entertainment from BAM students showing off their dance moves and other performances from various dance teams and choral groups throughout Hillsborough County Schools.
With safety demonstrations and displays from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office and fire rescue, many had the opportunity to enjoy members from the HSCO helicopter, SWAT team and the Horse Mounting Team.
This would not have been possible without the support of the Hillsborough Elementary Principals Council; AAA, The Arts Council, HCPS Student Nutrition, HCPS Transportation, HCPS Safety within the Division of Operations, Hillsborough County Law enforcement and City Firefighter and Rescue Units, Strawbridge and other community agencies.